As we look back in time and examine the history of hypnosis, we are able to see 3 distinct stages: The Mesmeric Stage, the Direct Stage and the Indirect, or Conversational Stage, which can be mostly credited to the work of the late Dr. Milton Erickson. Let’s look at each of these stages of hypnotic understanding…
In the first stage, Franz Anton Mesmer developed an induction method based on supposed magnetic passes that he believed was shifting subtle fluids in the patient’s body, thus causing trance. Later, through the work of James Braid and others, the idea of focused attention gradually took hold and displaced the magnetic fluid theory. This was the Direct Stage, in which the hypnotist was very authoritarian, sometimes even commanding the subject to respond. Trance was perceived as digital; something you were either IN or OUT of.
Then Milton Erickson came along, and everything changed. Erickson would simply converse with his patients and oft-times their problems would simply disappear. Erickson discovered that there were many different types of trance, and depths of trance. By speaking in a particular way, he was able to create hypnotic states without hypnosis ever being mentioned at all. Bandler and Grinder deconstructed Erickson’s conversational hypnotic techniques and wrote about them extensively.
So yes, it’s possible to hypnotize someone by having them simply listen…and notice the subtle differences…in your shifting internal states…that not only …(etc. etc.)